Basin Complex Scars 152,000 Acres, End Near

Basin Complex command estimates the final total acreage will be 162,818 with a final cost of $78,000,000.
Current containment is estimated is at 79% though a containment line has been around the perimeter for more than a week. Firefighters are burning out any green left inside lines, dropping snags and removing equipment.

Full scale demobilization of the remaining 1,400 fire personnel will begin on July 30.

It turns out the Pico Blanco Boy Scout camp sustained damage. Earlier reports suggested the camp came away undamaged. Firefighters were positioned at the camp as the fire swept through. According to The Californian most of the buildings were saved but some infrastructure and the camp ranger’s house burned.

Surely the entire camp would have been destroyed had firefighters pulled out. Kudos to the crews that battled the flames in that canyon.

The combined acreage between the Basin Complex and the adjoining Indians Fire will exceed 240,000. Though the fires merged they will be treated as separate events. It’s noteworthy the total area burned between the linked fires place it at number three on the list of largest California wildfires in state history.

While the two fires will keep their own identity they are being managed as one by the Basin ICS team. A reference is mentioned in today’s morning report.

Actions planned for next operational period:
Day Operations: In the areas of Paloma Creek, Miller and River Canyons, continue mop up and patrol. Continue interior burnout operations South of the Los Padres Dam as needed and mop up. Complete burning operations and mop up around Arroyo Seco. Provide contingency resources and mop up for the affected area of Tanbark. The Southern perimeter will be patrolled by air. Begin rehab for the East Basin and continue rehab for the Indians Fire.

Here is an image from GeoMAC captured at 1700hrs today July 25. You can clearly see how the Basin command are blackening all green areas within the burn.


  • Mike D. says:

    Yes, thank you to everyone. Thank you to the whole world. My gratitude runneth over.Except, isn’t it just possible that this fire could have been contained a something less than 244,000 acres? I don’t mean to second-guess the brave truehearts who stood shoulder to shoulder battling the flames, but wasn’t most of this fire backburns from a safe distance?Surely the USFS did not mean to burn every square inch of the Ventana, anymore than they meant to burn every square inch of the southern Los Padres NF last summer in the 240,000 acre Zaca Fire. Right? That wasn’t the plan ahead of time, was it?I mean, the Wildland Fire Leadership Council hasn’t been promulgating a Let It Burn On Purpose philosophy via their modifications of the Ten-Year Fire Plan or anything, have they? The incineration of 244,000 acres at an expense of over $100 million wasn’t “in the cards” as they say, was it? It was all an accident, right?But don’t think I am ungrateful. I am very grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Who can I send a medal too? Mike? Jeanne? Gail? What a swell job they did! Oh, how grateful I am.

  • Albert Gallegos says:

    The Boy Scouts at Camp Pico Blanco appreciate all the hard work and effort the crews have put into this fire! Thank you, thank you, thank you!Albert GallegosScout Executive/CEOMonterey Bay Area Council, BSA

  • carol says:

    I would guess there’s no simple answer to that question, people being full of an incredible mix of thoughts, ideas, and feelings… and often reacting instead of giving themselves the space to respond. I believe you are right, and that the firefighters themselves probably wanted to help. But they weren’t given the opportunity. Still, you made people aware of what, from your experience, was the firefighters’ intention and desire. That alone is an enormous gift.I believe the people who made the decision not to help probably also made it with the best of intentions. Whether I agree with their decision or not, I can appreciate that they tried to do what they believed was the safe and right thing to do. A writing teacher once told me that everyone is a hero in their own story. Most of us believe we are right in our actions and choices. That’s the story, and we all write our own. What is so great, is that you ask the question. Thank you for that.

  • Mike says:

    Thank you Carol.Frustration and indignation….yes. I can’t get my sights adjusted on the abandonment. It is contrary to everything I was taught and trained for. Every single firefighter assigned to the fire would have gladly stood next to the Tassajara Five. The ability to do so was taken out of their hands.Why?

  • carol says:

    Capt. Mike, thank you for your ongoing information and analysis during the last few weeks. Following the fire and how it has affected Tassajara especially, I’ve relied on your blog to help me understand what has been happening. I also appreciate your frustration and indignation on behalf of the folks who fought the fire at Tassajara. You were clear on the issues, and also clear on how you would have handled things. Thank you for your generosity and kindness.